Tag Archives: lunchbox

I’m in the Gosh Darn Club, right?!

I wanted to take a second and point to something very awesome, the Halloween 2016 release from one of my favorite independent companies, 8 Bit Zombie!

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I’ve mentioned Ross and his rad clothing and merch outfit 8BZ on Branded before what with his super cool vintage-inspired lunchbox releases and his badass Masters of the Universe-style action figure Thrashor.  While there are a lot of neat independent companies putting out fun t-shirts and toys, there’s just something that feels dead-on when it comes to 8 Bit Zombie in terms of the design aesthetic and products that Ross and his cadre of artists realize and produce that speaks directly to my eight year-old brain.  Whether it’s the attention to detail (like the accurately nostalgia-ridden fonts and illustration styles), the quality of the products, or how Ross and company manage to fill in the gaps missing in vintage pop culture collecting with all new very cool stuff, I always feel like this stuff was tailor-made for me.  And like I’m want to say about the era 80s kids grew up in, this feeling is such a shared experience that I’d be willing to be that quite a few of you will feel the same when you browse through the 8 Bit Zombie catalog.  It’s like 8BZ took all of the stuff we loved as kids, put it in a blender, and made something new, yet still very nostalgic.  And I love that.

Which brings me to the brand new 2016 Halloween product drop scheduled for 2pm eastern, 11am pacific this very afternoon.  If I already felt like 8BZ was aimed at me specifically, you can only imagine how excited I was when Ross reached out and gave me an early glimpse at the stuff he had in store which for the first time is going to be centered on a single nostalgic theme.  What’s that theme?  Well, just so happens the new 8BA release is riffing off of one of my most favorite movies of all time, the 1987 Fred Dekker classic, Monster Squad!

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I mean, holy freaking crap.  For a film that was woefully under-merchandized back in the day, the new stuff 8 Bit Zombie has put together makes up for that ball being dropped in spades!  Today’s release includes a metric ton of cool stuff, but lets start with that beautiful old school plastic lunchbox you see above.  Available in two colors (red or black), this thing is literally a dream come true for me.  I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreamed of owning a Monster Squad lunchbox.  Like I’ve mentioned a million times on the site before, the film should have had a huge marketing push as it was released at an apex of kid’s pop culture branding and merchandise, but somehow it fell through the cracks and was forgotten way too easily.  This Scooby Doo-inspired design just reminds me how rad a Monster Squad animated series could have been.  Instead of a thermos, each lunchbox comes packed with a very neat pint glass that features the same beautiful artwork by the super talented Matthew Skiff…

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In addition to this bad ass lunchbox, 8 Bit Zombie is also putting out a couple of new t-shirt designs celebrating the film.  First up, there’s a riff on the original UK logo with the an updated version featuring homages to all five monsters that appear in the film featured on a black shirt…

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So now you can show off your membership in one of the coolest goddamn clubs around!  The second t-shirt dropping this afternoon is a Ratfink-inspired take on the monsters that is both an homage to the 1987 film and the 50s and 60s monster culture that originally influenced Fred Dekker to create the film…

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Again, talking about the amazing attention to detail, I freaking adore that the Monster Squad font chosen for this shirt is a throwback to the font used in the German release of the film (under the title Monster Busters)!  Don’t even get me started on the nods to Dracula’s hearse, the dynamite that absolutely can not kill the Wolfman and the fact that the Mummy is hanging off the back like in the climax of the film.  This shirt just puts a huge smile on my face…

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The coup de grace?  Well, last but certainly not least is the official Monster Squad-themed membership pack that includes a plethora of awesome goodies, way more than any of the past 8 Bit Zombie member packs…

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So what’s in this thing? Included in each pack is a pair of Rudy Halloran-style shades, one each of a Monster Squad membership patch, sticker, pin and membership card, a set of three monster patches and an extremely badass decision coin!

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Here’s a close up of the rad patches you can totally sew to your jean jacket…

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And wouldya look as this too-cool-for-words decision coin!?!

I can pretty much state unequivocally that I will be making all of my important decisions with this coin very soon.

If you’re a fan of Monster Squad, or just like really bitchin stuff I highly suggest you head on over to 8 Bit Zombie this afternoon and load up on some of these amazing goodies.  Ross is also brining back some retired Halloween-themed t-shirts from the graveyard (in particular a couple very cool Lost Boys and Return of the Living Dead shirts.)  He also still has some Return of the Living Dead-inspired Body Bag old school jointed paper Halloween decorations in the shop (I have one hanging at my house right now!)  So head on over and pick up some fun stuff.  Make sure you tell him that Branded sent ya, and if you pick up some of this stuff, please send me pictures.  That would really brighten what has been a pretty crappy start of Fall here at Branded…

I think I have a crush on Lynne Stone…

Even though I’ve seen a metric ton of flicks from the 80s, there are a lot that I’ve never seen.  One of the cool aspects of catching up with these movies is getting to see some established actors before they were huge, and in some cases seeing them in roles that give me a whole new appreciation for them.  A couple years ago I did just that when I saw Laura Dern as a young post-punk rock star in Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains.  It totally changed my outlook on Mrs. Dern and it’s sort of given me a taste for redefining my outlook on some stars that maybe I don’t give enough credit.  Well this past weekend I curled up next to my girlfriend Jaime while she introduced me to the campy 80s dance flick Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and at about four minutes in I found an entirely new appreciation for one Mrs. Helen Hunt!

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Literally, Jaime and I were about five minutes into the flick when I did a spit take (well, would have had I been drinking anything at the time) and freaked out after noticing Hunt wearing a very awesome piece of jewelery that I myself sported back in the 80s.  Her character, Lynne Stone, is sort of a Cyndi Lauper lite, free spirited, takes crap from no one, and has a wickedly fun fashion sense.  Though the film focuses mainly on Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Janey, I kind of immediately fell in love with Lynne and I’m basically already writing the fan-fiction sequel flick in tandem with this article.  Also, since I’ve sort of been locked in a mode of finding all sorts of fun junk in the background of movies I thought it would be fun to point out the six aspects that make Hunt’s Lynne Stone such a rad character…

#6: Her Crush on C. Thomas Howell

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But then again, didn’t we all have a crush on C. Thomas Howell?

#5: Her Transforming Catholic School Uniform

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The scene where Lynne rips off her school outfit and flips it to form an entirely new outfit is pretty cool, as is her line: “Velcro.  Next to the Walkman and Tab it’s the coolest invention of the 20th century!”

#4: Her Awesome Headgear

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Giant grasshoppers, 50’s coonskin caps, and Dinosaur barrettes are just a smattering of the awesome things you’ll see on Lynne’s head throughout the flick.

#3: Her Babysitting Technique

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Get to job, put on Dance TV, place baby in pizza box, take absolutely no messages for her employer.  That’s the way to do it.

#2: Her Taste in Lunchboxes

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I have to say that the 8 year-old me who was carrying a Masters of the Universe lunchbox to school, if he’d crossed paths with a teenaged Helen Hunt with the same lunchbox, well, he (I) would have fallen in love and then fainted.  Seriously, I love that she’s carrying that lunchbox!

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#1: Her Amazing Taste in Kronoform Watches!

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Not only did I have the same lunchbox as Lynne, I also had that same knockoff red Kronoform transforming robot watch!!!  (Also, note the rad dinosaur headgear…)

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Seriously, I might have to consider knocking one of my 80s crushes off my list because I think Lynne Stone/Helen Hunt deserves to be on it…

 

Coming this Saturday from 8 BIT ZOMBIE!!!

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For the last two weeks the mad genius behind 8 Bit Zombie has been slowly hinting at the company’s next big product drop (coming this Saturday July 27th), and with each teasing image and video I’ve been going a little nuts!  As I’ve mentioned in the past I’m a huge fan of what they’re doing and love my Kid’s Club Pack and their Power Packs literally to pieces.  You won’t want to miss out on the next installment, especially if you’re a fan of 80s era cartoons and toys.  Some of the sneaks point to some super rad looking G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, Garbage Pail Kids, TMNTs, Master of the Universe, and Castlevania inspired items.  In particular, there is a new Lunchbox featuring a wicked awesome mash-up of characters that will be perfect for housing all your extra Gremlins and Cyndi Lauper trading cards (I know you have them scattered all over your place and it’s about time you cleaned them up!)

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I’m thinking there might actually be some toys in this drop!  So head on over to 8-Bit Zombie this Saturday afternoon and snag some rad stuff before it sells out (which it always does!)

!!UPDATE!!

Here’s a look at 8-Bit Zombie’s first toy!  Thrashor, the master of the radical universe!

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I’m Down With OPP, er, Coveting Other People’s Property…

This week The League is hosting another virtual shopping spree through a very real (and pretty darn awesome) auction being held over at Hakes.  In the last auction I put in my bid on a set of Sanrio prototype aquatic action figures that never saw full fledged production.  It was pretty rad stumbling across the archeological remnants of proposed and designed toy line that sadly never came to be, and there are some more rare production prototypes and carded figures for some rares 80s toy lines in this new auction.  But I wanted to take a slightly different slant with my shopping spree this time.  In fact, I don’t really want to go on a spree at all.  There’s one item in particular that I have my sights on, but I’ll get to that in a moment.  First I wanted to highlight a few items that I would have, um, virtually bought, had I not put put the brakes on my fake spending.

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Pictured above are a few of the 80s centric items that caught my eye in the most recent Hakes auction.  There are some pretty cool Flintstone Kids Pizza Hut premiums that I would proudly pin to my messenger bag (not to mention that I sort of have a fetish for pinback buttons.)  There are a handful of rad and kind of rare Infaceables action figures released by Galoob in 1984.  I love the idea of action figures built around transforming from human to monster and back again.  And last but not least, a seriously awesome Street Hawk lunchbox.  I came pretty darn close to winning the original artwork for this lunchbox back around the time I started this site and I’ve always been a little miffed at myself for not bidding just 20 bucks more, ’cause if I had it’d probably be framed and hanging in Branded HQ right now.  As it stands I’d love to have the actual lunchbox as a memento of balking at the auction price 7 years ago…

But as I mentioned, I had to take a trip back around the virtual auction house, virtually putting all these cool things back on the virtual shelves.  Why you might ask?  Well, because as I was browsing through all this neat stuff I was feeling a little bit like I was walking through someone else’s house full of bitchin collectibles.  I can’t explain it, but I get this vibe a lot when I’m hunting through flea markets and picking through antique stores.  All these things came from someone else’s childhood or estate.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not going all Mikey from Goonies here.  I’m not saying we should all thROW back the rich stuff from the bottom of the wishing well.  It’s just a thing I struggle with from time to time.  What cemented it for me was stumbling upon this next item, a toy that I have a very covetous history with, the Star Wars Return of the Jedi At-ST Scout Walker released by Kenner in 1983

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Now I had a lot of Star Wars stuff as a kid, a ton of the action figures and my fare share of vehicles including not one, but two At-At Walkers.  But, as it goes, and like I mentioned in this post a couple weeks ago, it’s always the things that you don’t own that seem to be what’s coveted the most.  In the case of the At-ST Walker, well, I never came across one in the store or at any of my friend’s houses.  I saw my first and only AT-ST toy back in the summer of 1983.  My family was picking up stakes from our home in Tampa, FL to move a couple hours due east to Orlando.  I had just turned six and my folks decided to let me tag along on some trips out of town while they did some house-hunting.  On one of these excursions we stopped at a house that still had a family living in it, and while we were taking a tour I spotted the above toy sitting on the bureau of some strange kid’s bedroom.  Being six, the thought hadn’t occurred to me that the stuff in the house wasn’t part of the bargain.  In fact, I spent the next three hours trying to convince my parents that out of all the houses we’d looked through to that point, this last one was obviously the one we should go with.  I mean it was two stories, had hardwoo…screw it, it was because there was an AT-ST in one of the rooms that I really freaking wanted.  After it was explained to me that buying a house didn’t quite work the way I’d hoped (and boy was I a tad relieved when they pointed out that if it had I’d be losing all MY STUFF), I was a little crushed.  Hungry Howie’s Pizza later that night didn’t make it better.  Getting to listen to my Michael Jackson Thriller tape on infinite repeat during the two hour trip back only helped a little.  If I have to be honest I’ve always sort of had an AT-ST-sized hole in my heart over the years.

Seeing that piece up for auction, well it both reminded me that I still kinda sorta (read – desperately) want this toy and that even if I don’t get it, wanting it still feels pretty good in it’s own weird way.  So that’s why if money were no object, I think I’d walk away from the auction with just this one treasure to fill that mechanical chicken-shaped hole in me…

So, check out the Hakes Auction, pick out your own weirdly shaped coveted item and fill in that hole that’ll make you feel a bit more, well, whole.  When you’re done, check out these other League posts to see what they found…

Jaime, Shezcrafti, seems to have some pretty damn similar tastes in stuff as me

Dex, AEIOU and Sometimes Why, picks some choice items

Chris, Random Nerdness, has a basket full of, well, random nerdy things

Victoria, VikkiVerka, has a taste for BLOOD, well, books about blood and guts

RobotPJs, Robot’s Pajamas, runs down some fun bad Ditko artwork

I’m a member in good standing in some pretty prestigious clubs…

I thought I wasn’t going to find time to post this week, but I didn’t want to sit on the following cool stuff for another month (considering I’m going into Halloween lockdown mode soon.)  I recently had a few extra bucks lying around (rare these days) and felt like it was a great opportunity to pick up some really cool stuff from a couple of really swell sites.

Up first is the mega-awesome 8-Bit Zombie Kid’s Club Pack!

I’ve been drooling over the neat clothes at 8-Bit Zombie for awhile, but I always tend to miss out on the shirts that I really want considering they’re released in pretty low print runs and tend to be gobbled up ultra fast.  So when I saw the tweet go out announcing the release of their new Kid’s Club pack I didn’t hesitate and ended up grabbing one post haste.  Let me tell you, I think I would have plunked down the price of admission for their retro custom lunch box alone.  Included in the pack are the super cool lunch box with artwork by Matthew Skiff (featuring such pop culture, cartoon and video game luminaries as Slimer, King Hippo, Cobra Commander, Mr. T, My Pet Monster, Skullface, and Castle Greyskull, as well as 8-Bit’s own Thrashor zombie skater), a club patch, a swell “Nickelodeon Slime” green club t-shirt, and a handful of stickers and buttons.  8BZ was also kind enough to include a vintage pack of Topps TMNT trading cards and a neat M.U.S.C.L.E. figure (#146, Playerman, the living record player!)

One of the aspects that I really dig about 8-Bit Zombie is their keen sense of design and ostentatious use of branding, which always gets me excited.  Heck, even the box they sent the club pack in was covered with awesome branded rubber stamps featuring some of their past t-shirt designs as well as their various 80s-inspired logos.  Sadly, the Kid’s Club Pack is currently sold out, but I’ve heard rumblings of future offerings in the works, so keep your eyes peeled and maybe you can also become a member in good standing…

The second awesome pack I picked up came from the multi-talented Tommy Day over at Top Hat Sasquatch

Tommy recently had a limited run of rad THS t-shirts screen-printed, and he’s currently offering them over at the site (though I’m not sure how many he has left, so if you want one you better head on over and put in an order!)  I was so excited to open the delivery, not only because the t-shirt is swell, but because he also packed a vintage TMNT goody bag to go along with the purchase.  It goes without saying that I love getting stickers, but the buttons and cool trading cards were a great bonus.  Believe it or not, that pack of ALF cards contained a card I desperately needed to complete my set!